Pochi giorni fa Elizabeth Flock, una giornalista-blogger che lavorava al Washington Post si è dimessa. La sua colpa è aver fatto un repackaging troppo fedele di una storia sulla vita su Marte e un’imprecisione in un post su Romney. Il commento di Patrick B. Pexton, l’ombudsman del WP, è durissimo. Non tanto nei confronti della Flock, che è una ventenne, ma nei confronti delle routine produttive del giornale di Washington.
But The Post failed her as much as she [ cioè la Flock] failed The Post. I spoke with several young bloggers at The Post this week, and some who have left in recent months, and they had the same critique. They said that they felt as if they were out there alone in digital land, under high pressure to get Web hits, with no training, little guidance or mentoring and sparse editing. Guidelines for aggregating stories are almost nonexistent, they said. And they believe that, even if they do a good job, there is no path forward. Will they one day graduate to a beat, covering a crime scene, a city council or a school board? They didn’t know. So some left; others are thinking of quitting. Katharine Zaleski, executive director of digital news, said that bloggers are made aware of The Post’s high standards: “We’re deeply conscious of the imperatives our bloggers face and go to great lengths to ensure they have the editorial support they need. We tell bloggers that their first and central priority is accuracy, not speed, not buzziness. The Washington Post’s standards apply every bit as much to our digital work as they do to our print edition. And our bloggers honor that.” The Post lets go nearly three dozen veterans in the newsroom to cut costs, and it falls short in cultivating its young and future talent. No, not a good few days.